Wednesday, December 7, 2016

That Time I Killed A Bunch of Birds

I've done *just* a few stupid things in my life. As I spend my morning dying white rice for sensory bins, I'm reminded of one of my "finer" stories. It was three (or four...okay, so I really can't remember but at some point in the past six years) years ago and, much like today, I was dying rice for sensory bins. And I was dying A LOT of rice. 25 lbs. of it.

One of the tricks to making/creating dyed rice is letting it fully dry out after dying. It can take a while. Usually days. I had run out of room to put all of the trays of rice. It was a warm, breezy, spring day and I already had a couple of trays in open windows. Birds were chirping, squirrels were running about. It was just about a perfect spring day. The rice trays in the windows were drying really quickly too. I got a tad eager and excited about how dry the open window rice was getting.

I only had 10 more pounds of rice left to dye. I could wait and dye it another day when I had more counter space, but then I had a brilliant idea (or so I thought). I dyed the rest of the rice then laid it flat on baking trays to dry. I then took ALL OF THE TRAYS, all 25 lbs. of rice and set it in the sun on our patio. By my accounts, it had the potential to be dry in a matter of hours if the sun kept warmly shining. Even though I can't remember what I did last week, I distinctly remember feeling proud of myself, sipping coffee, as I watched the birds flutter around our backyard. There seemed to be an abundance of them, but I thought nothing of it at the time.

Like most days, time got away from me and it was well into the night when my dear husband looked out the kitchen window and questioned why all of our baking sheets were laying on the patio. "Oh, I was letting the rice dry out in the sun and I completely forgot about it. I bet it's dry by now," I said enthusiastically. I remember the confused looked on my husband's face.

"What rice?" he asked. I rolled my eyes as I made my way out the back door.

"Uh the rice on the......trays....." He looked at me, probably convinced I'd lost my mind. "I dyed 25 lbs. of rice and I ran out of counter space so I set it in the sun to dry. There's no rice? WHO WOULD JUST TAKE RICE off our patio?"

I was met with hysterical laughter. "So, you set the rice outside? With animals that would eat it all?"

Oh right, it was making sense to me now. I was actually a bit relieved that animals ate it rather than someone stealing 25 lbs. of rice (because that's always a plausible answer, right?). I started laughing too. Until dear husband said,

"do you know how many birds you probably killed today?" I stopped laughing and was suddenly horrified.

"What??!!"

"Rice kills birds when they eat it. It expands in their stomachs...."

I panicked. I was convinced I killed all of the friendly neighborhood squirrels and birds. For days after, I check all around our property for any signs of dead animals. I never found any dead birds but I did have an interesting conversation with a neighbor who is an avid bird watcher and claims to have seen some robins acting peculiar in the days following. "Huh, that's odd. I wonder what was up," I remember saying to the concerned neighbor (who had no idea about the rice incident).

My rice dries indoors now, away from friendly neighborhood creatures that may die when they eat it.

* For the record, I relied on my bff Google and it said that birds don't actually die when they eat rice. A little bit of it. As long as it's been cooked.....I still like to believe I didn't actually kill any animals that day.

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